“Celebration and agony”. Tis rather contradictory expression capture well the content of this issue of The Uganda Journal, accurately reflecting a pervasive and fundamental tension within Uganda society.
There is, on the one hand, in many of the contributions, a sense of Uganda’s good luck and blessedness, so well- captured by Francis Mulango in just seven words: “… Uganda is a land rich and beautiful.” At the same time there is the widespread feeling that Uganda has failed to realize her enormous potential (economically, politically, socially, and culturally) and seems most of the time to display the more ugly side of her face.
The lead article by A.B.K. Kasozi highlights the fundamental tension well. His basic argument is that Uganda has been failed by politics and political economy, as reflected in unequal economic and social development between the northern and southern regions of the country. He places the imperative for more uniform development throughout the country as the most urgent item on the national agenda if we are avoid continued serious political conflicts and civil wars. This thesis has been advanced before, but in arguing it by blaming the failure of politics and political economy largely on one leader, Dr,Kasozi is bound to generate controversy.
A major obstacle to Uganda’s economic growth and development is clearly the burden of external debt. Ulrike Wilson succeeds admirably in laying bare for the non- expert what is a terribly complex subject. Her piece is a good point of entry into what is happening to Uganda’s debt burden.
Arsene M. Balihuta discusses education as both a social service and a vital social capital for economic development, thereby complementing the previous two articles.
Both Herbert S. Kanabi Nsubuga and William Gombya- Ssembajjwe are concerned with sustainable development; the former focuses on what he considers the hitherto neglected field of animal industry, the latter on forestry. In both cases Uganda’s potential is shown to be enormous. And in both cases the country has a long way to go to begin to realize this potential. The gap between the potential and its realization in resource utilization widens further when considered in the context of the present land law. In a brief note, Jossy R Bibangambah explains clearly where the land laws now stands and what needs to be done if land is to assume its rightful place as a primary capital for sustainable economic development.
The theme of ‘’celebration and agony” is sharply dramatized in two shot reflections on art. Gamaliel Mugumbya strongly argues for a role for art in overall development. Francis Musango, echoing a line from the musical Camelot, urges Ugandans artists and Ugandans at large to “do look around” us. We would, he says, find that Uganda’s landscape is unique. His piece “wakes up” our landscape to display its beauty and at the same time wakes us up to notice that”… Uganda is a land rich and beautiful.”
I would like to close this note by paying tribute to my predecessor, Professor A.G.G. Gingyera- Pinycwa, who so ably combined the editorship of the journal with the responsibility first of vice president and later of president of The Uganda society. It is only since taking over as editor that began to fully appreciate his enormous energy and ability in keeping the journal going during this tenure.
I would also like to thank our volunteer production team of Beverly Usher and Laura Tindimubona for their diligence and sacrifice in seeing this issue through.
Dent Ocaya- Lakidi
Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.